WARRINGTON Wolves today confirmed the appointment of Steve Price as the club’s new head coach on a two-year deal – as previously forecast by Warrington Worldwide.
Price, 40, takes on the role from departing head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith, making the move from his position as assistant coach with NRL side Cronulla Sharks. He brings with him NRL Grand Final winning experience, having been part of the coaching team at both St George Illawarra Dragons and Cronulla Sharks.
A former player at St George Dragons and Balmain Tigers in the late 1990s he began his coaching career at the Dragons in 2002 with the Jersey Flegg under 20s. He then progressed to the Premier League and Toyota Cup 20s sides before stepping up into the position of NRL assistant coach under Wayne Bennett in 2010, the year they finished the season as Premiers.
Price was promoted to the position of head coach of the Dragons in 2012 at the age of 34, making him one of the youngest head coaches in NRL history. At the end of 2014 he made the move to Cronulla as assistant coach, enjoying another Premier winning season when the Sharks secured the Grand Final win over Melbourne last year.”
Chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick said on the appointment: “Following completion of a thorough and extensive search, we firmly believe that in Steve Price we have found the right man to bring success to Warrington Wolves. As a result of his involvement in two NRL Grand Final winning clubs, Steve fully understands what is required to deliver that success; he is regarded as having a major influence on the Sharks’ 2016 Grand Final win and he is highly respected by all of their players.
“During our detailed discussions, Steve clearly demonstrated an exceptional understanding of the game in both attack and defence, and he has a great awareness of Super League. Steve has a reputation for attention to detail when it comes to his team’s preparation and performance, and he is acutely aware of the high expectations we have here at Warrington.
“Steve was one of the youngest to secure a head coach role in the NRL, and we are certain that this experience will put him in good stead. We received resounding positive feedback at all stages of the recruitment process, with Steve being highly recommended by some of the sport’s most successful coaches and influential players.”
Price added: “I’m excited to be heading to the UK and being part of the Warrington Wolves for 2018.
“I’m grateful to be leading this great club with such a passionate fan base and prestigious history. I endeavour to build a tough and resilient football team, that will be attractive to watch and will enhance the Wire brand.
“I’m looking forward to working with the Warrington Wolves Board, CEO, office and playing group. As well as getting to know the supportive Wire community.”
Shane Flanagan, Cronulla Sharks head coach, said: “ Steve has played an important role at the Cronulla Sharks over the last three years and was integral part of Premiership winning side in 2016.
“His knowledge and support has been invaluable for me as head coach and I know the playing group here at the Sharks will be disappointed to see him leave for season 2018.
“Steve’s passion and work ethic will be a great addition to the Wolves and his desire to succeed will be the driver behind his professionalism. The Cronulla Sharks Football Club looks forward with great anticipation and excitement to see Steve and the Warrington Wolves season unfold in a highly successful manner. Good luck Steve Price and the Wolves.”
Brisbane Broncos and England international coach Wayne Bennett added: “It was a pleasure to work with Steve, he is a good person as well as a very good coach. When I joined the Dragons in 2009 he was the only staff member I retained and we went on to lead the team to a premiership win in 2010. He once again showed the influence he can have on a team when Cronulla won in 2016 with him as assistant coach. I have no doubt he’ll do a good job at Warrington; everyone speaks very highly of him within the game.”